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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Beyond The Beginning CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This 2-DVD set, with a total of circa 250 minutes of video, is a must-have for fans of the band. I would also recommend it to any progressive rock fan interested in the genre's history, and to those who do not realise (or who doubt) how popular the band was. I'm not going to reel off all the facts and statistics mentioned, but by the time you've watched the documentary and the excerpts from the various concerts you will realise that this band was huge back in the 1970s, and real innovators.

To newcomers to the band or genre, and to those sitting on the fence, I would strongly recommend watching Disc 2 first: there is an hour-long, informative documentary including interviews with the band members, their past and present managers, the band's publicist and even the well-known promoter Harvey Goldsmith ("When they got on stage they were mind-blowing").

You can select sub-titles in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Apart from the documentary, Disc 2 has 44 minutes from the California Jam festival in 1974, where the band headlined with Deep Purple to an audience of 350,000 people. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed watching the footage of this concert, especially Keith Emerson's lengthy piano solo (no, I'm not talking about the famous - and brief - piano stunt, which is also shown but was only a gimmick).

After watching Disc 2, you can put in Disc 1 and watch 18 performances over the band's life, ranging from TV studio appearances to videos and concerts, plus a performance of each member of ELP in a previous band. A couple of the very early recordings are historically interesting albeit annoying because TV producers and cameramen in those days felt that it was not sufficient to just show the band playing: it was important to zoom in and out constantly, change shot constantly, superimpose coloured boxes and strips, invert the image, and mess around in other senseless ways. So much so that you cannot see what the band is doing half the time. Thirty-seven years down the line, precisely what is important is to see the band performing, as they were, not stupid visual effects. OK, rant over: there is still plenty of good footage on Disc 1, so do not let me put you off.

The list of ELP tracks is historically diverse (although some are only excerpts): 'Take A Pebble' (German TV, 1970); 'Knife Edge' (Brussels concert, 1971); 'Rondo'/'Pictures at an Exhibition' (snippets from Isle of Wight festival, 1970), 'Rondo' (Brussels concert, 1971); 'Tarkus, Eruption' (snippets from Tokyo concert, 1972); 'Hoedown' (Milan concert, 1973); 'Tank' (snippet from Milan concert, 1973); 'Lucky Man' (California Jam, 1974); 'Karn Evil 9, Third Impression' (California Jam, 1974); 'Toccata' (Aquarius TV show, 1974) [Palmer only, and very good]; 'I Believe In Father Christmas' (Greg Lake's excellent 1975 video); 'Honky Tonk Train Blues' (Oscar Peterson's Piano Party on TV, 1976); 'Fanfare For The Common Man' (1977 video); 'Pirates' (Montreal concert, 1977) [not a piece I like, but it sounds and looks great live with a full orchestra accompanying, making the whole thing very slick]; 'Tiger In A Spotlight' (Pop Rock TV show, 1977); 'Watching Over You' (Memphis concert, 1978); 'Tarkus' (Royal Albert Hall concert, 1992) [boy, the guys look old in this one, and I don't enjoy much the way they turn the piece into a slow, funky, jazzed up number part way through]; 'Touch And Go' (Budapest concert, 1997).

Disc 1 also has "bonus footage": mostly-B&W footage of the band rehearsing in 1973, which is initially boring but then becomes interesting; a short documentary about the album covers, with interviews; a B&W film of the band racing saloon cars with other celebrities at Brands Hatch in 1973; "How It All Began", a new interview with Bob Moog, which I found very interesting (and further proof of how innovatory the band was). And, if that is not enough, three more B&W tracks: 'Fire', performed by THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (1968 TV performance, suffering from gratuitous, very dated and hugely irritating camera effects) with Carl Palmer; 'America', performed by THE NICE (1968 TV performance, also suffering from the same very dated and irritating camera effects) with Keith Emerson; a snippet of Greg Lake in KING CRIMSON performing '21st Century Schizoid Man' in Hyde Park in 1969 (the sound is superimposed, but the sync with Lake's lips is perfect and the snippet is interesting).

Oh, and there's a 24-page booklet with some nice photos and background information.

The track list for Disc 1 on the back of the DVD case is wrong; the list above is in the correct order (as it is in the booklet) and one track less than stated on the case.

The sound quality is good. The video quality is generally good too; some of the early stuff is grainy, as you'd expect, but overall the image quality is very acceptable. The tracks look and sound great on my large TV set.

Well, what are you waiting for? Grab a few beers and some snacks, kick everyone who is not a progressive rock fan out of the room, and settle down for 250 minutes of rock history. And don't forget: watch Disc 2 first!

Report this review (#37339)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, OUTSTANDING, ETC. ETC. .....WHAT A SPLENDID 2-DVD BOX SET!!! All the wild, bombastic, virtuosic and megalomanic stage antics from Keith Emerson can be seen, from the abusing of his Hammond organ and the 'flying piano' to the sensational play on his Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer (in the empty and snowy Olympic Stadium of Montreal) and boogie woogie piano play in a tv show, what a trhill to watch Keith Emerson, the 'Jimi Hendrix from the progrock'! Palmer got a hot spot in "Toccata" during a drum solo in a tv show and in "Lucky man" and "I believe in Father Christmas" we can enjoy Greg Lake on his acoustic guitar. There are lots of bonus features, including 17 minute rehearsal, an hour long histroy of the band and a Bob Moog (unfortunately very ill, I read on this site) interview. THIS IS ESSENTIAL PROGROCK HISTORY, NOT TO BE MISSED IN ANY SERIOUS COLLECTION!!!!!
Report this review (#39504)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great collection and shows ELP changing through the 70's; from looking young, hungry and mean, setting off canons at the IOW festival through to them becoming - at least musically - rather tired and middle aged with "Pirates" and "Tiger in the Spotlight". No wonder punk pushed them aside! But as they say in the excellent documentary, Beyond the Beginning, the packed an awful lot into their first few years. The first disc is mainly a chronologocal run-through of their history - IOW; some footage from Brussels (which is great - if you want to see it all, get" ELP-Masters from the Vault") - through 73, 74 with excerpts from Cal Jam; footage of Carl Palmer on "Aquarious" and Ketih Emerson on the Oscar Peterson show; the video of "Fanfare". Disc 2 is mostly Cal Jam including a brief clip of the much talked about spinning piano, which looked a bit wobbly to start with but hey, it spun and boy, he played!

Great stuff, great music, film quality variable in places but nothing too awful, a wonderful collection and a reminder that ELP were about putting on a stage show as much as the music they played. A few niggles - nothing much of "Pictures" and some of the clips were too brief - but a must if you're an ELP fan, and even if you're not, chances are you will enjoy this.

Report this review (#41277)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good, but also disappointing and severely lacking quality!

GOOD.... ... because there's a wealth of clips from various performances. Best part is the 12+ minute version of Take A Pebble from the now legendary German Beat club TV programme.

Some other clips may be found on other releases as well, e.g. from the Brussels show. Albeit, not in better quality. some clips are blurry, some even seem to be from 2nd generation video (such as from the Japan show)

The documentary is interesting, but not very revealing. Though nice to see the guys in what appears relatively recent interviews.

DISAPPOINTING .... .... because the quality could have been better....a LOT better.

The main disappointment is: it is NOT a 5.1 sound mix. despite what the cover sais, I couldn't by the best of my abilities not find a sound track with 5.1 mix. It's all plain stereo.

The track listing on the back is wrong. Luckily, the booklet features a correct track listing. The booklet is beautifully designed with nice photo's, however the liner notes are not really informative and on occasion even silly.

And why on earth put two tracks from the California Jam onto disk 1 as well? Needless repetitive inclusion.

The biggest complaint I have however, is that a lot of the clips are cut !!!! In all fairness, some are complete, but some are severely cut and I failed to see any reason to why. Some are even only 1 or 2 minutes and some are really brutally cut. E.g. Keith's performance with Oscar Peterson has a serious cut at the ending.

Overall, it's a nice release, but it seems no attempt was made to clean up the clips, improve te sound and make this a real quality product.

Report this review (#42991)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm sorry to have to say this about this long awaited DVD, but "What were the producers thinking?" On disc one we get Lucky Man and Karn Evil 9 #3 from Cal Jam exactly the same as the on Disc 2. What up wid dat? I saw the whole California Jam in 1974 when a friend of mine's dad working for a video supply company had a two inch professional open reel video tape deck that we recorded the whole ELP set on. (Long gone I'm sure!) Why take clips of this stuff and edit the crap out of it? If the whole concert exsists, (I don't know if it does,) it should be shown unedited. Nothing but a tease. Is this a way to come out with the whole thing later and make DOUBLE the Money? Sure, the old stuff on Disc 1 (ELP in Pictures) is interesteing, especially the rehearsal video, however, a great rendition of Palmer doing Tocatta and other material is OUT OF SYNC!!! Come on, I mean, this IS 2005, right? I can take the audio from that myself, put it through a digital delay and sync it up in myself bedroom! Your telling me in this age of digital technology you can't take the time to sync this stuff up? Or does taking the time eat into your profit margin??!!! SHAME ON YOU!!! Give us a whole Calitornia Jam and break even and I'll forgive you!

Report this review (#48492)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Should have been the dogs bollocks but isn't really.Its an interesting collection of video and concert performances by one the best prog bands of the seventies.ELP had a spirit of adventure and were incredibly extrovert as a live band and this DVD gets that across well.The highlights:

Take a Pebble -exceptional extended acoustic peice.ELP were more than just an electronic keyboards driven band and this proves it.

Rondo (Brussels)- great camera work especially focusing on Emerson's brilliant keys work.

Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression - Superb footage from Cal Jam 1974.

Fanfare For The Common Man - A video(not live) but still fascinating all the same.

Pirates - From the Montreal Olympic Stadium with a 60 peice orchestra.True progressive music realised in front of 88,000 people!

Tarkus - From The Royal Albert Hall and shows the band still had soemthing to offer even in their twilight years.

The bonus footage is ok but not great to be honest.I'm probably being over generous in giving this 4 stars but ELP is my favourite band so I can and will.I can dream that there is a complete video of a concert performance of ELP from 1974 tucked away somewhere and still in good nick.For the time being this will have to do.

Report this review (#48561)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This two DVD set is a disappointment. It has some high points but the general quality of the footage is poor. Fans have long awaited this DVD because of the footage from Cal Jam in 1974. This concert footage chronicled the band at their high point, when they headlined the three day concert for a quarter of a million people. Unfortunately, the ABC footage was damaged from what I understand and the producer of the DVD did not do a good job in restoration. In addition, the DVD momentarily stops between tracks. ELP fans may be able to overlook the excerpted Tocatta from the concert and cut of one verse from Karnevil #9 First Impression Part Two, which I understand was done for the original ABC broadcast. But most will come away feeling unsatisfied. Compared to How the West was Won, the Led Zep chronicle, this DVD pales. How the West Was Won had one DVD of an early concert of the band at the Royal Albert Hall and then clips that spanned the band's career on a second DVD, which were professionally mastered.

The other DVD has clips that span the band's career from Take a Pebble at the Beat Club, a German TV program, to Budapest in 1997. The irony is that you also get two tracks from the Cal Jam concert on this DVD, and the Lucky Man is actually of better quality here than on the concert footage, which points to the producer for this mishap of a DVD.

Highlights of side one include: Fanfare for the Common Man, which the band recorded in the cold and snow at Olympic Stadium, although the picture and music are out of sync; the original video did not have ths problem. The Pirates clip is probably an excerpt from the video Live in Montreal. The Tarkus from the Royal Albert, which shows Emerson having the problems that led to his need for wrist surgery, is probably also avaible on the Live from the Royal Albert Hall DVD. The various and sundry tv clips from the beat club to the Oscar Peterson Show to Tiger in the Spotlight on Euro Pop Rock are interesting, but the excerpted snipet from the Isle of Wight is unconscinable as are the many cuts and edits in the footage granting this DVD a 2.0 although many fans will see at as a must have.

PS The liner notes are not only silly but even wrong. The clock change that the producer cites in the Fanfare video is because there are two clocks, one behind the band and one on the other side of the stadium. It is not an indication that the band had spent the whole day filming this video.

Report this review (#52943)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This video collection has some disappointments. To quote the background music on the menus (The Endless Enigma), "Why do you think I believe what you say...?" That's exactly the message this DVD is trying to provide.

First of all, those Tarkus segments from the Japan concert are VERY BAD. They are makeshift videos and not the original. There is a full version of Tarkus from that concert - complete from Eruption till Aquatarkus - that, whoever put together this DVD together, should have taken as source. Tarkus is such a fantastic piece from ELP and there is no proper video of it from being performed between 1972-74. What a shame indeed.

The Japan 72 bootleg video shows Eruption with more closeups on Lake and Palmer. Unfortunately again, Emerson is very hard to see, but at least he can be seen playing one hand on the Hammond C-3, and the other one on the Hammond L-100. Nothing of this appears on the DVD.

Toccata is another disappointment. Now I do not know if there is a full video of this fantastic piece. I was hoping that this video would have it. The 2 segments containing Palmer's solo only are very dull.

The only rescuable item is the California Jam, as they got a much better source with more clarity. But, again, it was butchered. This original show was televised as part of one of those "Don Kirschner Rock Concert" presentations. The DVD shows the ELP sequences cut off without the introductions. It could have been more interesting if they'd just put the entire tv show as it originally was, a true time machine and an example to current young viewers of the magnitude of 70's tv rock concert shows.

I am positively sure that the band has, in their personal vaults, fantastic full videos of their performances. Why they don't release them? Is there any video from the full Brain Salad Surgery Manticore tour? The band released a series of audio bootlegs which I believe it was a very wise move; they opened their audio vaults to delight of all ELP fans to posterity. I can't believe that there is no video whatsoever from the whole BSS tour; there must be a full Toccata video somewhere... I must keep looking, because it's worth it...

Report this review (#59043)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well I have to remark my sense of tiredness in front of a music puzzle like this, filled in so many different and non-homogeneous fragments (think of "Tarkus" for instance, an extract from the famous performance at their gig in Tokyo dated 1972, which is not useful here in a short version.), but in the same time I'm quite excited about a splendid and simple version of "Take a pebble" (during a German TV show dated 1970), as well as for the immortal "Karn Evil 9" (within disc 2) which always makes me feel so good!. Ok sometimes such famous tunes are a little bit strident in comparison to the raw songs by the "Crazy World of Arthur Brown" and the Nice (promo videos), and it seems that's a kind of forced and unnatural testament in some circumstances!! The quality picture regarding the various gigs is uneven and the several clips- being cut- don't represent the best stuff ever seen, but at the end this is an important historical document and you can forgive the Sanctuary Visual Entertainment production for their insertion concerning for instances the tepid song "Watching Over You" or the recent execution of "Touch And Go" in their live in Budapest (1997), which cannot be regarded as must-have by ELP .instead fine songs like the instrumental "Hoedown" or also "Tank" remind us of a period which won't never come back anymore, as well as an happy period for prog music in general. Emerson nowadays is involved along with D. Kilminster in various gigs all over Europe and at the moment of my review I'm waiting for the show of Live Club in Trezzo-Bergamo (Italy), where He will execute a lot of the famous tunes I've just examined here, moreover being a constant example to be emulated for all the keyboardists like me, fond of this unique style (think also of E. Jobson or the best moments of T. Banks and Rick Wakeman with their progressive bands- Yes and the early Genesis, during the seventies.). The project regarding the reunion of ELP in the early nineties failed in a bad manner, but I'm not concerned about it too much, because the époque of the dinosaurs of progressive rock is buy this DVD- above all if you're a fan of them- and be happy!!
Report this review (#59094)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Mixed feelings about this DVD as to the running order of the tracks, the choice of contents and the rockumentary on the second disc. I rented this DVD, because I had a feeling that the acquisition of it would be rather useless for someone that knows a lot about the band (furthermore having read Emerson's book Picture Of An Exhibitionist last year). So I did rent it out and was rather pleased to see some of the footage that had been selected, but do not understand why the full Belgian TV special was not included and can only remark that there is still a footage when they filmed KE9 in a TV studio, that I have yet to see released on DVD (I do not think it was ever also on VCR, either), but on the whole there are some delightful moments. Especially enjoying were some (all too short) footage of their first groups, TCWOAB, KC and The Nice (in a great version of America with O'List on guitar) as a foreplay.

The second disc is divided in a rather good but not excellent quality film of the California Jam 74 , when they topped the bill of a rather convincing performance. More of interest is the rockumentary , which traces back their career until their first demise after the awful Love Beach, which all admit it was a poor album, but also offered at Ahmed Ertegun's Atlantic label as a fulfilment of the contract they had. No mention of the next year's Live album and the rest of the career (after they reformed in 86) is kept silent and the only time you see something about those albums is a concert footage of EL & Powell 's Touch And Go on the first disc. Rather puzzling when you consider the DVD's title.

One of the things not kept under silent is the constant air of turmoil, rivalries and Lake's superstar attitude, but frustration of the musical choice ( Emerson's revenge on the choice of Lucky Man as the lead off single as Tarkus etc..) makes you wonder on how these guys managed to stand each other for so long , that you realize that if the album were not quite that successful in terms of sales, they probably would have not lasted past the third album. Emerson's showmanship and exhibitionist's nature and apparent complete lack of business sense of the music scene (the other two still remind him of the famous orchestra on tour) and Palmer's sort of useless role of arbitrating or refereeing bouts between the other two (but on his own admission he got ignored and was somewhat of a punching ball for standing in between the two) , this complete a rather not- so-illustrious portrait of a band. Yet as in Emerson's book, there is a real openness of talking about those inside quirkiness but displaying a certain lack of humility and shame, but also a great pride in their achievements. And on their whole career's achievements, who could possibly blame them for that?

Report this review (#73376)
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perfect? No...Absolutely essential? YES!!! This dvd is one of the few that I tend to throw in the DVD night after night and watch. If you are an ELP fan and dont have this DVD, make it a priority.

The cover is a well put together and attractive holder of this epic presentation. We are treated to a fairly decent pull-out booklet which has some good pictures. Disc one has "ELP in Pictures" which, although sometimes edited and shortened such as in the Isle of Wight footage, but it is nonetheless a good representation of their performances throughout the years. It is in all, a pretty good section. "Before the Beggining" is not something you'd watch much, due to bad footage of decent songs. As far as the bonus features go, I loved the "ELP in rehearsal" They are so talented! It is something that a non fan would find super boring, and a fan would find fascinating. The story of the covers is pretty cool, an interesting watch. Brands hatch?...I watched it once, I wont complain though, its ELP. The interview with Bob Moog is quite hard to watch due to his prozaic delivery, but it does have good information.

Disc two has a very good, but badly synced in some areas, performance at the CAL JAM. It has a truly awesome version of KE9 Third Impression, and some other highlights as well. This concert, while slightly dissapointing at first, is now quite interesting to me.

The documentary is very, very interesting, and would be a good place to start watching. It has excellant footage and good interviews with the band.

In all, this is killer, do not hesitate...

ELP forever

Report this review (#84183)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a documentary DVD that casts the joined forces of three talented musicians Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer as a successful and unique progressive rock trio the world has ever had. The period of 1970 to 1978 was the golden years of the band. This is the period where materials of the DVD were taken from. Featuring performances from every stage of their career, including 44 minutes of ELP headlining the massive California Jam Festival in 1974 on Disc Two which also showcase the much sought after footage of the famous spinning piano sequence. The DVD also contains Beyond The Beginning - an hour long documentary which tells the story of this remarkable band with refreshing honesty and candor. [DVD jewel case notes].

What do you expect from documentary DVD? Complete story of the band? Yes, if that is the case, you can find it here. It's not how the band was taking shape at first formation but it's more on where and when they performed the show and how they performed it. The good things about this documentary is that it is also provided with complete 22-page booklet in color with band photos and .. most importantly .. the description of each cast in the DVD. It's so informative so that each ELP fan can easily find out the information pertinent to any cast in the DVD. That's enough to say that you don't need to read this review as the track-by-track review has been professionally provided by the producer of this DVD. So, my advice is: just purchase this DVD!

If you are quite troublesome with picture and audio quality - you would definitely be disappointed. But, HELLO!!! This is seventies man .! Don't expect something with dolby surround or DTS kind of thing, just enjoy the quality as is. Feel it as you were there in the show and you would be satisfied with this documentary DVD! Have you ever seen the spinning piano attraction? Yeah .. it's here with this DVD! Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#96044)
Posted Saturday, October 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This wonderful two DVD set is the definitive historical reference on ELP. it features all members of the band, present day, commenting on various happenings and developments in the history of ELP, from their birth to the less than stellar reunions of the early nineties. It contains several clips of old footage from the 70s, like a candid rehearsal tape, clips of live performances and TV appearances. The documentary section is full of great information and it's great to hear the band's views. Bob Moog is a guest interviewee here too.

The packaging is great, and the quality of the clips is, for the most part pretty great. The film doesn't have the best production though, many things are out of place like the aforementioned Cal Jam clips, and have odd sound mixing or other preventable errors. Overall it's a great retrospective DVD and a great addition to any ELP fan's collection.

Report this review (#115310)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Roll up, roll up, see the show

This lavishly presented double DVD set gathers together some excellent footage of the band from their earliest days (their first real gig at the Isle of Wight festival) through to the trio's final appearance together in 1997.

The track selections are, presumably through necessity, a bit of a mixed bag. We have for example two selections called "Tarkus", but neither is a complete rendition of the suite. Likewise, the pre ELP "Rondo" features twice, but the "Trilogy" album is all but ignored.

Disc 1 comes across as rather fragmented, with favourites such as "Tank" and "Pictures at an exhibition" being ruthlessly edited. On the other hand, the opening "Take a pebble" seems to last for an eternity as the band wander off on a number of tangents. A full version of "Pirates" from the Montreal leg of the orchestra tour is interesting, if only because it demonstrates all too clearly how the band had dropped the ball.

Elsewhere, "Tiger in a spotlight" features a tethered tiger on stage with the band(!), while "Honky Tonk train blues" sees Emerson dueting with the legendary Oscar Peterson creating one of the highlights of the DVD.

Disc 2 features the band's performance at the 1974 "California jam", the audio from which has been previously available for some time on releases such as "Now and then". This set is the more satisfying of the discs, as it effectively offers an ELP gig as it would have been live. The performance includes the now infamous spinning piano sequence.

The presentation is completed by a number of extras, including early rehearsal footage, an interview with synthesiser pioneer Bob Moog, a lengthy documentary on the band and brief footage of the three members previous bands.

The accompanying booklet offers useful commentaries on the origins of the recordings, although it appears to have been compiled before the track listing had been finalised.

In all, a fine audio/visual experience for fans of the band. The quality and availability of material can be a tad frustrating, but that is a minor grumble given the unique nature of much of what is on offer here.

Report this review (#118430)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars With absolutely brutal sound quality, sloppy live playing, audio/video timing issues, and repeated footage, this DVD doesn't really make up to be a worthwhile journey. I was quite excited when I took this out of the library, and was extremely disappointed at the silly edits of classics - including a 30 second version of 21st Century Schizoid Man. Disc 1 contains footage of King Crimson, The Nice, and The Arthur Brown Band (the band member's previous groups), along with really mediocre footage from 1970 to 1978 of the joint efforts of ELP. The special features of disc 1 are great, but certainly don't make this video worth buying. If it weren't for disc 2, this lacklustre DVD would have received a 1 star from me. The video biography is really the saving grace on this output, and offers some really interesting insight into the process of album-making, touring, et cetera, et cetera. Some footage from Disc 1 is featured a second time on disc 2, for reasons unknown. Die-hard fans will be drooling over the bio, though, so consider renting if you're a casual fan, and consider buying if you're a die hard ELP fan.
Report this review (#131696)
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars First off, if you're an ELP fan then you have to get this DVD. Along with the unofficial Belgian concert disc and the Lyceum Pictures at an Exhibition DVD it contains much of the best extant live footage of the band.

Good points: Film from the Isle of Wight performance that established the band almost instantly as superstars. Great versions of Hoedown from Milan '73, Rondo from Belgium '71, Pirates from Montreal '77, 44 minutes of the California Jam from '74 complete with revolving piano and a full Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression. Fascinating footage from the Brain Salad Surgery rehearsals that shows the mighty KE9 taking shape. The full Fanfare for the Common Man video complete with Keith's freaky Yamaha GX-1 improvisations (I know they're only miming but it's still great). The video of Greg's Christmas hit single and Keith giving a performance of Honky Tonk Train Blues with Oscar Peterson. The second disc features some very frank and revealing interviews with the band.

Bad points: Why no version of The Barbarian, one of the group's signature tunes? At least two excellent live versions exist and the one from the Pictures Lyceum concert DVD is particularly brilliant. An inferior version of Knife Edge is used (Greg gets some of the lyrics wrong and the wonderful use of Bach's French Suites is omitted) - the version from the German TV performance from 1970 (from which Take a Pebble is featured on this disc) is way better. The Milan '73 footage of a powerhouse version of Pictures at An Exhibition is not featured at all.

Overall: As with much of the recycling of ELP's back catalogue you're left thinking that with a bit more thought and attention this could have been the definitive document of the band it presumably aspires to be. However, you can't fault the amount of interesting material that has been crammed in and you do get a strong impression of the sheer power of their performances, and why ELP at their peak were up there with Zeppelin, the Who and the Stones as the one of the highest grossing live bands in the world. Three stars for the curious and five for ELP fans, so that averages out at four.

Report this review (#205751)
Posted Sunday, March 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars A visual treat, as good as it gets, capturing all that is great about ELP.

I have many ELP DVDs but they do not get better than this. Most of the best material and footage of the band is here, and a few rarities for completists. It is great to see excellent quality recordings of the best performances from TV shows such as Take A Pebble from The Beat Club TV show, and Toccata from the Aquarius TV show. It in interesting how the compilation DVD doubles up by having sections from California jam, yet the full concert is here on the bonus disc. The Rondo / Pictures At An Exhibition montage from Isle of Wight performance is a great addition, though the full concert is still worth tracking down. There are many concerts represented here such as Milan, Montreal, Budapest and Memphis.

The lowlights are taken from the Works phase such as the appalling I Believe In Father Christmas, and Tiger In The Spotlight, though that is worth a look just to see the terrified tiger lurking in the foreground.

Highlights include the early footage plus the extended promo for Fanfare For The Common Man from 1977, I had only seen the edited single version on TV. A recent Tarkus performance from 1992, at the Royal Albert Hall concert is an excellent tour de force from the group, and it was great to see Touch And Go live from 1997.

The promo videos are a nice addition especially America by The Nice from 1968 Beat Club TV show and the insane Fire by TCWOAB. I was looking forward to seeing the early King Crimson with 21st Century Schizoid Man but the whole clip is heavily edited and the entire instrumental section is omitted which is a major disappointment.

There are some great bonus features such as ELP kanoodling in rehearsals during 1973 and the wonderful "The story of the album covers" documentary, which is great because it exposes the albums and how the band feels about them. Love Beach is mentioned as a massive flop, and we all knew that. ELP at Brands Hatch 1973 is a waste that I won't bother watching again as it is just a doco on some car race track really. The Interview with Bob Moog is OK but a bit boring just hearing the old guy ratlle on about keyboards.

The second disk is a revelation featuring the full California Jam in 1974, the 44-minute performance. Highlights of the performance are Toccata, Take A Pebble, Karn Evil 9, 1st impression part 2, Karn Evil 9, 3rd impression and it even includes rare footage of Emerson's Spinning Piano. This concert is worth the price alone as it captures the dynamic energy of the group in their heyday.

The "Beyond the beginning" documentary is the icing on the cake, a 1 hour look inside what makes these three guys tick, and much is revealed in the one hour. Overall this compilation is a must for ELP fans, and spans the entire music career of one of the most innovative prog bands in music history... the awesome irreplaceable ELP!

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Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 | Review Permalink

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